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Oakland Museum of California Announces Daylong Pop-Up Experience Celebrating Stories of People and Place in Around the Block: A Day of Neighborhood Stories

(OAKLAND, CA) August 14, 2018— The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) will be the community anchor for a special free, one-day event on Saturday, September 29, 2018 titled Around the Block: A Day of Neighborhood Stories. Made possible with grant support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), this project goes beyond the walls of the Museum to highlight five collaborative projects spearheaded by artists and community organizations within three blocks of OMCA near Lake Merritt. 

Exploring dynamic and interactive initiatives through shared storytelling, literature, dance, art, performances, and photography, Around the Block is designed to foster important conversation about the neighborhood, providing an opportunity to listen, learn, and contribute to discussions about Oakland’s most pressing issues today, including cultural legacy, gentrification, homelessness, and processing emotions around loss of life

Concerns about losing histories, traditions, and identity helped shape the vision for the event, which is intended to bring these challenging issues to light by inviting communities to engage in both serious discussions and joyful celebrations. On the day of the event, maps will be available at each of the locations with detailed information about each of the projects. 

“With this project, the Oakland Museum of California recognized the need to create a space for community engagement outside of the Museum grounds. Through this one-day program, we invite our neighbors, visitors, and residents of Oakland to join in celebrating the unique characteristics of this city and participate in important conversations,” says OMCA Director & CEO Lori Fogarty. “This is just one step in an ongoing process to build a more vital, creative center for Oakland, and a way to recognize the important history of this place. We are committed to doing our part in providing meaningful experiences that connect communities to one another and to the place where they live.”

“The recently completed Oakland Cultural Plan ‘Belonging in Oakland’ provides us with insights on the diverse ways Oakland lives, works, and interacts which each other. It tells the story of what Around the Block wonderfully celebrates – how we belong to a city of creativity, care, and can do. The spirit and actions of belonging are so evident in this day of placemaking and placekeeping, honoring the best in us,” says City of Oakland Cultural Affairs Manager Roberto Bedoya

After an extensive two-day convening with leaders in creative placemaking, community mixers and meetings, and an open RFP process, finalists were chosen, representing a range of timely issues and ideas. 

Making a Joyful Noise: Community and Belonging in Lake Merritt will explore African American histories, experiences, and views of Lake Merritt through the art of Gayle “Asali” Dickson, archival materials from collections at the African American Museum & Library at Oakland, and a panel discussion on the contested definition of the “noise” of drumming, church choirs, and political demonstrations. Paired with the installation and discussion will be a pop-up drum shop Bring on the Drums with Jahi & Microphone Mechanics, where visitors can design and decorate a drum frame with words of reflection and connection to Oakland. Participants will learn the history of drums, learn rhythms, and leave with a legacy instrument that can be passed from one generation to another.
At the newly redeveloped Peralta Park next to the Oakland Estuary, Channel Arts is leading six free public art workshops to connect the people who use the area for living, recreating, learning, or commuting. These workshops will cover a wide range of themes, culminating in Channeling, a one-day art show on September 29 at Lake Merritt BART Plaza with works created by artists and teachers of the workshops. Channeling will reflect on experiences from the Peralta Park workshops and the experiential, dynamic practice of connecting art with everyday life. 

Somethings Last Forever: Messages to Our Future/Past is an interactive screenprinting and storytelling pop-up created by artist Yetunde Olagbaju, There Is No Time, and the Oakland Museum of California. Visitors will be encouraged to screen print their own posters with messages, letters, and advice to their past and future selves. The pop-up will also provide a photo scanning station where visitors can scan and print meaningful photos to add to their letters. Visitors will also be invited to share their messages as part of an oral history archive and exchange.  

Through intergenerational dance, home is where: a community conversation in dance will be the culmination of a dance-story project led by Greacian Goeke and Kaethe Weingarten, who will meet and interview elder residents of the program Center for Elders Independence in downtown Oakland. After story-gathering, local students will work collaboratively with elder dancers of Goeke’s Impromptu No Tutu dance ensemble to develop choreography from the story material, which will be taught and presented on during Around the Block.  

Lastly, the Oakland Public Library’s Main Branch, marksearch (Sue Mark and Bruce Douglas), and Youth Beat will organize a day of programming titled Neighbors’ Edge that includes sidewalk interviews, spoken word performance, and a youth panel discussion highlighting the voices of Youth Beat journalists, Oakland Youth Poet Laureates and participants of Beat Within, focusing on change in our city. Youth Beat journalists will capture views and thoughts expressed throughout the day in a short documentary that will be broadcast on KDOL-TV and available for use to the Library and Museum. 

Around the Block: A Day of Neighborhood Stories will be held for one-day only on Saturday, September 29, from 11 am to 5 pm. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 



The World of Charles and Ray Eames 
October 13, 2018–February 17, 2019

Fueled by their belief in design as a way of life, the innovative husband and wife duo Charles and Ray Eames were two of the most influential designers of the twentieth century. Go beyond their most well-known designs in this intimate and inspiring exhibition portraying their legacy and lives in California. The Eameses—who founded The Eames Office—valued knowledge and discovery, embraced the joy of trial and error, and saw no separation between life and work. Through multi-media installations, films, rare prototypes, photography, furniture, toys, products, as well as personal letters, drawings, and artwork, discover the story of the Eameses from a fresh perspective. Explore the breadth of their work across many fields in this interactive exhibition that brings their ideas and playful spirit to life. The World of Charles and Ray Eames was curated and organized by Barbican, London. There is an additional $4 admission fee for this special exhibition. 

Cruisin’ The Fossil Coastline
November 10, 2018–March 17, 2019

Drop back in time to see the natural environment of California in a new way. Discover the connections between art and science through fantastically colorful renderings by artist Ray Troll and the research of paleontologist Kirk Johnson, who made an incredible journey to map the ancient world with a fresh perspective. Together, the fossil-loving scientist and his artist friend paint a vivid picture of the land and creatures that once roamed the West Coast thousands of years ago. Learn how fossils teach us about how California’s landscape, plants, and animals have evolved over millions of years. With the addition of sculpture, maps, a giant sloth—or Paramylodon harlani— and other fossils and bones from the collections of OMCA and the California Academy of Sciences, and a fun hands-on activity, this exhibition will thrill fossil fans and curious culture-seekers alike. Cruisin’ The Fossil Coastline was organized by the Anchorage Museum.



J.B. Blunk: Nature, Art & Everyday Life
Through September 9, 2018

Discover northern California’s best kept secret in design and craft: J.B. Blunk (1926–2002), a mid-century artist whose connection to nature governed his daily life. Inspired by Japanese philosophies of nature and art’s inseparability, and influenced by rural utopian communities, Blunk’s muse and often his source of materials was the beautiful natural environment of Inverness, California. Blunk’s home property was his ultimate work of art, filled with his handcrafted furniture, ceramics, sculptures, and other functional objects used by his family. His remarkable craftsmanship also took the form of large-scale public works of art, including The Planet, a redwood sculpture commissioned by the Oakland Museum of California in 1969. J.B. Blunk: Nature, Art & Everyday Life brings together a comprehensive survey of the artist’s works. See northern California’s landscape anew through Blunk’s eyes, and get inspired to find the beauty of nature and art in your own daily life.

Homegrown Heroes: Oakland A’s at 50
Through October 21, 2018
Share your love for Oakland’s hometown team with a new pop-up installation in the Gallery of California History celebrating the Oakland A’s 50th anniversary. Honor three iconic homegrown—Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, and Dave Stewart—and get up close with rare photographs, high school yearbook images, and sports memorabilia worn by the players to learn about their roots in The Town and contributions to the team. Reminisce about the legendary 1989 Battle of the Bay World Series with a poster from the OMCA Collection, and contribute your own baseball memories of playing America’s favorite pastime or attending an A’s game. 

Take Root: Oakland Grows Food
Through November, 2019
Unearth Oakland’s multi-layered world of food in Take Root: Oakland Grows Food, an exhibition exploring aspects of growing food in Oakland. Enjoy this hands-on exhibition with the entire family to understand what factors determine where, how, why, and what is grown throughout the city. Hear personal stories from farmers and growers within the community, see compelling illustrations and maps, and meet the diverse flavors of Oakland. Learn what motivations Oaklanders have for growing food—including access to healthy and delicious ingredients, environmental and social justice values, or simply the joy of tending a garden. Visitors will be invited to share personal stories, explore interactive activities, and gain a deeper understanding of Oakland’s agriculture.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) tells the many stories that comprise California, creating the space and context for greater connection, trust, and understanding between people. Through its inclusive exhibitions, public programs, educational initiatives, and cultural events, OMCA brings Californians together and inspires greater understanding about what our state’s art, history, and natural surroundings teach us about ourselves and each other. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA brings together its multi-disciplinary collections of art, history, and natural science with the first-person accounts and often untold narratives of California, all within its 110,000 square feet of gallery space and seven-acre campus. OMCA is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage for visitors from the region, the state, and around the world.

Museum admission is $15.95 general; $10.95 seniors and students with valid ID, $6.95 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for children 8 and under and Members. There is a $4 charge in addition to general admission pricing for special exhibitions. OMCA offers onsite underground parking, with validation for Museum visitors, and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station, on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the new 1000 Oak Street main entrance. Regular hours are 11 am to 5 pm, Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 10 pm Fridays.